5 Popular Events and Festivals in Turkey
Turkey presents numerous different festivals and events across the
year, each and every year, from the arts and music, to sport and
recreation, and theyâ€™re held all over the country. With so many to
choose from where will you go? Well, here are five very different
festivals to try to give you a taste of Turkey!
Camel Wrestling Festival, Near Ephesus, January
heard of oil wrestling, so now we'll tell you all about camel
wrestling! Admittedly the camels don't usually get to the same level of
wrestling as oil slicked men do, but camel wrestling is more for the
entertainment than anything else, and makes for a fun way to spend a
few hours with the family.
Camel wrestling isn't quite as widespread across Turkey as it
used to be, and is now confined mainly to the Aegean region of the
country, along the west and south west coast. Each January close by to
Ephesus, one of Turkey's most famous archaeological attractions, a
camel wrestling festival takes place. Basically a couple of male
camels, known as bulls, have the chance to fight over a lovely female
camel, known as a cow. Often they don't really fight, but when they
chase each other around and head towards the spectators it can be quite
Open Door Architecture Festival, Istanbul, May or June
If you're visiting Istanbul in May (which by the way is a lovely
time to go!), you should definitely take advantage of the Open Door
Architecture Festival that takes place every year. Istanbul is full of
the most fabulous architecture, but much of it is usually behind closed
doors and inaccessible to the public. During the open door festival
however, some of those usually closed doors are opened and you can get
to see inside architecturally and historically important buildings.
Open door buildings usually include the Ortakoy Mosque which is set
right on the Bosphorus and was built between 1854 and 1856. This mosque
is a great example of Ottoman architecture.
Istanbul Music Festival, Istanbul , June/July
The Istanbul Music Festival is one of the city's longest running
festivals and the most popular, with visitors from around the world. It
celebrates its 43rd year in 2016 and features plenty of classical music
as well as opera, ballet and traditional Turkish music. The festival
takes place within a number of venues across the city, and often
coincides with other theatrical and music events, so there's usually
more than one thing going on at a time. In fact the other cultural
festivals in Istanbul span most of the summer, so even if you visit in
July you'll still be able to experience an event.
Kas Lycia Festival, Kas, June
The three day Kas Lycia Festival is held in the town of Kas in
the south of Turkey, on the Mediterranean coast. Kas is a popular
tourist destination throughout the summer anyway, but this festival
towards the beginning of the busy summer season is a must visit for
families interested in seeing more of Turkey's culture and heritage.
You can see local and international folk dances in addition to
opera performance, ballet and art exhibitions around the town, and
combine this with days on the beach, at the water park, or shopping for
Oil Wrestling Championship, Edirne, June/July
You may find this hard to believe but oil wrestling is actually
one of the national sports of Turkey! Every year, numerous oil
wrestling competitions take place all over the country and each one is
very popular, attracting hundreds of competitors and thousands of
spectators, but the most famous and revered one takes place in the city
of Edirne, right in the far west of Turkey on the border with Greece.
This particular tournament is called the Kirkpinar and it's steeped in
history having been held here since the year 1346!
Oil wrestling is a knock-out tournament whereby men dress in
short black leather pants and douse themselves in olive oil. They then
wrestle, aiming to get their opponent onto the ground and held in
As well as the wrestling, which is quite a sight, other
festivities occur such as music, dancing and fabulous food, so this
festival really is a great introduction to Turkish culture!
Written by Claire Bolgil
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